Life in my country

From my humble beginnings.

 “I was a consultant on livestock. I major in Cow operations, Feedlots, Backgrounding, plus i am a cattle whisperer.”

Content with the little i had. I tended to my cattle, prayed to my God. All was fine by me.

But my goverment never cared. They plundered my nation’s resources. I could cope no longer with the strife, the insult.  So i moved to the big city in search of  a better life.

But life wasn’t better. Still i was content.  

But my goverment never cared. They built private houses with public money. Money that is partly mine.

Business was slow. Of course it was, they were millions like me trying to do good. Trying to make ends meet. Trying to ignore the insult.
So I switched jobs. And i got caught.

How come i got caught. Not one government person has been caught. Not fair. 


“I am a professional mass transit facilitator.”

That’s what i call myself. “I am not a conductor, what am i conducting?” But the people insist. And they add that i am nothing. They insult me. 

But when I was hungry and tempted and acted. I got caught. And they threatened to set me alight.

“Set them alight” i said.  But none understood me. Poor illiterate me.

“I am a successful Refuse disposal operator. Success is relative. I am my own boss too.”

Life has not been fair. But has it ever been? I understand that perfectly. What i don’t understand is my government. Thieves. How do they do it without being caught?

i figure it out and switch jobs.

I strategize. 

I take their money, they love me for it. Anybody insults me, my people insult them on my behalf. Just like my government.

Life’s not fair. But when has it ever been?

Time…

I stumbled on this piece  by a friend, Henrietta Obinyan, and thought heck, a must share!
Henrietta has the best afro in Italy!
OK enough…
Read the piece.

Time
The importance we place on time differs in different societies.
The picture always look like everyone is busy with their time, but busy is relative.
One’s concept of busy is different from another.
A dream reminded me of various encounters, mostly in Nigeria…
Time is useless in Nigeria.
Everyone may look busy, but more often than not, they are busy taking their time.
Lagos looks very busy…busy wasting your time.
No one expects anyone to be on time. Everyone excepts the other to respect their time.
A public transporter will tell a passenger “I’m not going to that place, it’s too far” but will wait an hour to get a different passenger going where he wanted.
Board a faulty taxi, other passengers will talk you into being patient with the driver.
In Nigeria, no one can rely on an arrangement without taking into consideration, time factor. But, hear…
Time is constant everywhere, people are the disruptive elements.
Managing time properly is wealth.
Then, health.

See, what did I tell you? Her afro is awesome!

Time…

I stumbled on this piece  by a friend, Henrietta Obinyan, and thought heck, a must share!
Henrietta has the best afro in Italy!
OK enough…
Read the piece.

Time
The importance we place on time differs in different societies.
The picture always look like everyone is busy with their time, but busy is relative.
One’s concept of busy is different from another.
A dream reminded me of various encounters, mostly in Nigeria…
Time is useless in Nigeria.
Everyone may look busy, but more often than not, they are busy taking their time.
Lagos looks very busy…busy wasting your time.
No one expects anyone to be on time. Everyone excepts the other to respect their time.
A public transporter will tell a passenger “I’m not going to that place, it’s too far” but will wait an hour to get a different passenger going where he wanted.
Board a faulty taxi, other passengers will talk you into being patient with the driver.
In Nigeria, no one can rely on an arrangement without taking into consideration, time factor. But, hear…
Time is constant everywhere, people are the disruptive elements.
Managing time properly is wealth.
Then, health.

See, what did I tell you? Her afro is awesome!

To mind or not to mind. Part II

And that was how we grew into young adults. We had friends in other neighborhoods but ours. We silently showed off our achievements. We didn’t ask dad to stop the car to pick up Tom who was walking in the heat of the day. “let his father buy their own car“.
We saw our childhood friends in the University and it was awkward. Eventually we could only talk about our childhood. Although we saw each other every other day in the last ten years.

We couldn’t picture building our own house without having it fenced round. We couldn’t picture our future neighbours for they were never going to be in the picture.

Fast forward to now. Many have their own families. Some residing in beautiful estates having rows of bungalows with low walls and flowers and yet we are considering raising the walls. We don’t want to see our neighbours, we don’t want them to see us. We don’t want to see their house, they don’t have to see ours. They don’t have to know what improvements we’ve made on our house. Their roof is fine, we can see their roof, they can see our roof too, no problem with that. So let’s raise the fence to roof level.
We all want a car. Even when we can’t afford it. We never gave it a thought to share our neighbour’s car with them. Even when said neighbours wouldn’t mind. But we carry the ‘what would they be saying about me?‘ around with us, so we can’t. So we save, we strain, we suffer.

Our kids somehow happen to find themselves playing with the neighbour’s kids and we stand by the window, watching, fuming, till we can’t take the love anymore. We step out the house and call out to our kids. “Junior, come inside“. To make it look like we mean no harm, we add “come and eat” or “they’re showing cartoon“. Sometimes we then have to drag the reluctant child inside with a fake smile on our face.

To mind or not to mind

Minding one’s business is a good thing. It also is a bad thing.
Growing up in Festac Town I saw the merits and demerits of either of both.
Around the mid eighties the people of that town visited their neighbours, they knew each other by name, their kids went over to play, mothers offered food in and out of festivals, there were hearty discussions during sanitation day – every last Saturday of the month. And most of all, someone else’s parent scolded and even beat you if you did wrong. When we got back from school before mummy we simply went over to the next flat and stayed there till mummy came.

People got all up in your business and that was not good. Everyone knew when you needed help and they offered it. It was a bad way of life, imagine everyone knowing your condition.

Anyway…

By the mid nineties things had changed for the better: Fences came up around buildings, neighbours became ‘busy’, kids were told to stay away from other people’s houses, food that was seldom offered suddenly became ‘laced with witchcraft’, and no parent dared to beat a child that wasn’t theirs. Sanitation day saw fewer, less enthused participants. The only chitchat was about the security of the immediate surrounding.

build fences, erect gates, hire security guards, etc. Only after the talks were done with did anyone talk about the other’s family. And it usually didn’t go beyond “greet your family for me“.

Then if you happened to get home before mummy you had to wait in front of your house. Peradventure you got to wait in your neighbour’s house, you had to remember to refuse the food or drink they offered, if they offered. And when mummy returned and you got in your house the first question was “what did they give you to eat?“. Your answer to that determined where you sat in church the following Sunday and if you had to have a one on one with your pastor.
By the late nineties, childhood friends had become unfamiliar teenagers.

People

People like life, but they don’t  know how to live. They only know how to breathe.
There’s no ‘leave and let live’.

Little wonder people die. People hate the truth and crave the lie. People ignore the logs in their eye.

People want money, people want fame, people always seek for someone else to blame.

People hate offices. No, people love offices, It’s the job that embarrasses. All cos of a series of easier choices.

People hate beggars but love takers. They are puppets in the  hands of lawmakers.

keep the earth!
kill the earth!
Has been the argument since birth.

The goal is always to be well-off financially; automatically or eventually. People. People like life, but they don’t really.

flowery life

image

Got this photo from a friend who got it from a friend. Like her I think whoever had the time to do this has a beautiful soul. That person needs to be kidnapped and have their genes tapped for onward replication and distribution. Cloning should be made legal long enough to produce more of his or her kind.

That being said, I recall this tree from my childhood. I’m sure I’ve written about it before too.
Festac Town was lined with those trees when I grew up there. I still have no idea what the name is but in season we had the flowers all over the place; sidewalks, main roads, everywhere. Little children used them as part of the ingredients for ‘papa and mama’ soup, toppings on their cakes, and they served as brooches for their dresses and whatever they call it for their ears. Me and my peers just plucked the petals while we cooled off from murdering lizards, and the older teens added them to their love letters.

Before I knew the rose as a symbol of love I knew this flowery life.

Anywhere bele face

Many years ago, in the late 80s to 90s Festac Town, when kids still played outdoors in the many confined playgrounds, carparks, backyards and actually had fractured bones and wounds that squirt blood. Those years when every boy child got an elbow to the spine courtesy of their favourite bully.
The early part of those years I earned the title ‘anywhere bele face’. It meant same direction the belly faces. You see, I’m not a soccer fan today but as a kid, boy did I play! I got that name because my role in our soccer team was to run like hell with the ball at the slightest opportunity and to shoot with all my strength when I could. I was no Pius Ikedia but I could run. Sometimes I scored remarkable goals but I was also really good at escorting the ball out of play. If i could maneuver my way to face the goal I could fire shot and everyone would go wow! but if I couldn’t it was a YouTube worthy sight everytime. I didn’t know how to kick the ball using the sides of my foot, just my toes, especially my big toe. My toes were my pride and I was sometimes called Tobi by that crazy bully in block nine. If i ever find that guy today I’d show him.

Anyway…

If you wanted the ball in the other half fast what you had to do was pass the ball to me. But you also needed to have somebody there waiting to take the ball off my feet before I ran out the playing field and into a concrete wall.
With secondary school came my upgrade. I learned not only to use the insides and out of both feet but I could curve the ball pretty well too. I could then curve the ball from the side of the field just before running out the field and meeting the concrete wall. I became one of the finest free kick takers. My corner kicks were cool too.

Here’s where I’m headed. A friend of mine asked for some relationship advise and I didn’t know where to start. I knew the kinda guy he was.
I gave him the name ‘anywhere bele face’. As he talked the name crept in my head, so did that story. I recanted to him the above story hoping he’d get what I was trying to say. Why? Well I learned the ropes. I still hit concrete walls but I’m pretty good with the crosses and curves.

He then thought I should write about it…so here.

In every relationship patience and understanding is key. I’m no expert but I’ve been in a lot of matches and I know what works. Not so much to do:

Shut TF up and be kind. 
Sit TF down and talk. 
Walk TF out and clear your head.

I remembered these cos of the number of troubled marriages. Husbands going all Mohammed Ali on their wives. And wives wanting to reenact ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ at the slightest provocation.
Like me, my speed and toes, alot of men have just one way of handling their wives/girlfriends; force. No pats, no warnings, no discussions.
And like me, they fall out of the field every time. It would be nice to see more men learn to curve the ball.

And somebody please let these ladies know to never ever bottle their worries up. Talking is a beautiful thing. You bottle it all up and you just might blow up one day. And for goodness sakes tell them never to use social media sites when pissed. You won’t believe the amount of private information that end up on social media that has further damaged strained relationships that could’ve worked.

Well, I just decided to share with you what I shared with him. I’m really no expert.

On a tree?

I was walking along the other day and this young lady with headphones on walked right past me, singing “Me and you sitting on a tree.. K.I.S.S.I.N.G.”. Yemi Alade’s awesome track that brings back memories. When I should’ve been staring at her curves that she clearly was flaunting I found myself wondering how that girl could actually relate to that song as at her age, she probably couldn’t. 
Yea, this generation indeed love that song. I’m guessing it’s the beat, the melody. But I doubt seriously that they can relate with the lyrics. 
I’m not old enough but I grew up from a generation of boys who impressed girls by climbing high up in trees. The girl liked you if you could reach the thinnest branch and pose there. If you could get eggs from a bird’s nest up the tree. If you could move from one branch to the other without finding yourself on the ground, writhing in pain. 
We sat in trees, with girls, we talked about ladybirds, about Sherri Mango and Kerosene mango. About if to play ‘mummy and daddy’ in the evening or to play ‘catcher’. We made swings on trees and actually swung on them. We played football! Well, technically it can’t be called football because the boys abided by the rules but the girls, out of frustration, carried the ball with their hands to the opponent’s post, dropped it there in front of the goal, and attempted to kick it in the net from there. They still ended up missing.

But I digress…

We kissed in the trees. More like peck sha.. on the cheek. That is if you were extremely lucky. It was a once in a blue moon thing.

But all the kissing I see today are over iPads. 
Ask any girl today what will attract her to a boy. It would be his latest  array and sophistication of mobile devices, how accessible he is to a car, and the bulge of his wallet. Small girls o! When our girls their age liked you if you could kill lizard with a stone from fifty yards. Or if you could hold five-sound knockout ‘banger’ as it went off one by one. 
Pluck two mangoes, give her the ripest of the two and you have a babe in the making.

These ones? Mango? They prefer apple… and not the fruit sef.

How could they possibly understand kissing on a tree? They haven’t even touched a tree!

Message from a DJ

At a Spelling Bee contest organized by an NGO with which i work as a volunteer i observed the continuous decline in spelling prowress of the children of today. Once upon a time a dad, mum,  school teacher or extra coaching instructor (Yea, those come right after school hours) would force your books into your head. Literally. They actually would pick up the book, slam it on your head, press it hard against your scalp while growling the words “you will know this book today”. But of course there were still some of us that turned out half illiterate. It’s evident in our society today where supposed adults act like children having no functioning critical thinking faculty. There are also numerous kids today we have  little hope of redeeming as their brain doesn’t seem to sit right in their skulls. Probably results of intellectually poor parents… and probably not. What really should be our cause for worry is the increasing preference for the goodies of life before the struggle.
Well, it’s probably natural to not want to suffer but then again where’s the constant reminder from parents and teachers alike that hard work pays? That the pursuit of knowledge solves a whole lot of problems in the future.
At the Spelling Bee contest yesterday kids from all over our host community came to participate. But there were the occasional parents who came to see what we were doing but left their kids at home, probably watching TV or playing. I personally spoke with two of such mothers. One actually demanded that i gave her some juice and biscuits for her daughter who she said was asleep at home. What wouldn’t my mother do to my behind if she found me asleep while a Spelling Bee was ongoing outside. Even if she was the one who put me to sleep. But these mothers here, shame. The world has indeed gone sour. It’s parents like that who let their kids play throughout the day and even night, who insist their kids are too young to be stressed with books, and then go a step backwards to pay bribes to the teachers of their children for ‘success’ which is in turn celebrated flamboyantly. Been to a graduation party lately?
But who am i to judge? I don’t have any idea what these parents go through, so i guess i must hush on that there.

Back to the Bee, at the end of it all, after prizes were given and praises were sung, the DJ took over and as usual, I thought the song’s were inappropriate for the kids and for the event. The hall gradually emptied and then played Eve‘s let me blow your mind.
I moved softly to the beat still thinking it was inappropriate until i grabbed these words:
Jealousy, let it go, results could be tragic
Some of y’all aint writin well, too concerned with fashion
I didn’t think i ever heard those lines in the song before. “Wise saying”, i said to myself. If only the DJ would rewind it, but i couldn’t even ask. He was looking like black Hulk Hogan having a bad day. But even if i could somehow convince him to play the  track – – or just that part again – – i was sure none of the kids would grab the message. Not necessarily because i also didn’t initially but because there are much more kids, and of course teenagers, today who simply want to dance to the beat of the song not giving a thought to what the musician is saying, whether lewd or violent.

Kids aren’t writing well. Kids focus too much on celebrities and fashion. Kids are jealous of other kids who have a replica of a particular celebrity’s outfit and ‘swag’… who can’t write well.
So though this was a message for them that passed them by yet again, they have to grab it soon. It turned out that the DJ had a message after all.